Jamie Foxx Became An Action Star In This Forgotten Thriller Dominating Netflix

Jamie Foxx stars in The Kingdom, a movie that currently sits in Netflix's top 10.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Jamie Foxx in The Kingdom

A forgotten action movie from the ’00s starring Jamie Foxx is currently one of the most streamed movies on Netflix. According to FlixPatrol, 2007’s The Kingdom cracked Netflix’s Top 10 earlier this week and is holding steady at #9. The film, which takes place only six short years after 9/11, is a fascinating snapshot of the pro-American, anti-Arab sentiment still prevalent in Hollywood at the time.

The Kingdom stars Jamie Foxx as Special Agent Ronald Fleury, a man sent to investigate the bombing of an American facility in the Middle East. Foxx started out in comedy with the hit sketch series In Living Color before graduating to more dramatic fare like 2004’s Ray—a role which won him the Best Actor Oscar. But it wasn’t until 2007’s The Kingdom that the actor was able to show off his action hero chops.

Fleury emulates another fictional law enforcement hero Dirty Harry as he takes justice into his own hands following efforts by the Justice Department and the State Department to hinder the FBI’s efforts to investigate the bombing. Fleury blackmails a Saudi ambassador into letting his team enter the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh and proceeds—like Harry—to kill his share of “bad guys.” The typical action movie explosions and gunfights ensue.

The Kingdom also stars American Beauty‘s Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner of 13 Going on 30 fame, and Arrested Development‘s Jason Bateman alongside lead Jamie Foxx. The Kingdom was written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and directed by Battleship director Peter Berg. Before filming began, Berg spent two weeks in Saudi Arabia doing research for the movie.

While two weeks of filming for the Jamie Foxx movie took place in Abu Dhabi, the majority of the movie was shot stateside, with Arizona standing in for Saudi Arabia. While shooting on location in Mesa, Arizona, the director was involved in a fatal accident when the SUV he was riding in crashed into a John Deer Gator all-terrain vehicle. Peter Berg survived the collision, but another crew member wasn’t so lucky.

Assistant property master Nick Papac was driving the Gator when it hit Berg’s SUV. Papac’s resulting injuries proved to be fatal, and he died three hours after the initial accident. In 2008, Papac’s parents sued Peter Berg along with the film’s production company and the driver of the SUV Berg was riding in. The lawsuit was dropped later the same year.

According to IMDb, one scene in The Kingdom used a large number of Latino actors as stand-ins for the Arabic citizens of Saudi Arabia. Allegedly, makeup was applied to their faces to give them a Middle Eastern appearance.

The movie received mixed reviews upon release. While some critics praised The Kingdom for its action scenes—one critic even went so far as to compare Jamie Foxx’s character to John Wayne—others chided the movie for being “xenophobic” and accused it of “pandering.” The movie’s reception in the Middle East was largely negative. Palestinian writer Sharif Nashashibi considered The Kindom part of a long-running tradition of Western movies that use Arabs as villains and a tool to prop up America as the “good guy.

The Jamie Foxx action-thriller grossed only $86.6 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of $70 million. Factoring in advertising costs and the cut for all the theaters showing the movie, The Kingdom was ultimately a failure for Universal, losing the studio close to $30 million.

While it may not be entirely due to the film’s tepid reception, Jamie Foxx did take a short break from the action genre following The Kingdom. Foxx would follow up the Middle Eastern thriller with The Soloist, a film about a homeless musician as well as parts in the comedies Due Date, Rio, and Horrible Bosses. The actor wouldn’t jump back into the action genre until he played the title character in 2012’s Django Unchained.

You can watch Jamie Foxx in The Kingdom now on Netflix.